The Twins Almanac for April 17

6-minute read

April 17, 1965
Kaat Pitches Shutout without Strikeout

Jim Kaat becomes the only pitcher in team history to throw a shutout without a single strikeout. Kitty gave up seven hits and a walk in the 3-0 Twins win over Cleveland at Met Stadium.

Allan Anderson pitched a complete game without a strikeout or walk on August 4, 1988, but gave up a solo home run in the 2-1 Twins win.

Speaking of Kaat and shutouts, he threw one in Chicago on April 11, 1971, despite giving up ELEVEN hits and a walk. (The Twins record for hits allowed in a shutout is 13 by Mudcat Grant July 15, 1964, less than a month after he was acquired from Cleveland. Grant also walked one in the game.)

And one final note on Jim Kaat shutouts: Kitty homered while pitching shutouts on April 13, 1968 and October 1, 1970. The only other Twins pitcher to do so was Jim Perry on April 13, 1968.

April 17, 1968
Best Start in Team History

Harmon Killebrew homers and doubles as the Twins beat the Senators 13-1 at D.C. Stadium, improving to 6-0—the best start in team history.

They finished the season 79-83, seventh place in the American League. The following season, the AL and NL split into East and West Divisions, and the Twins won the first two AL West pennants (before promptly being swept by Baltimore in the ALCS both years). 

The worst start in franchise history, if you’re curious, was 0-9 in 2016. They finished the season 59-103, the worst record in Minnesota Twins history. It was remarkably not the worst season in franchise history, however. The 1904 Washington Senators finished 38-113 (.252 winning %). 

April 17, 1970
Johnson Homers off Kaat

1954 Edina-Morningside graduate BobRockyJohnson hits his 44th and final major league home run off the Twins’ Jim Kaat at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Read more about Johnson here on the Almanac ⇨ TwinsAlmanac.com/BobJohnson

April 17, 1974
Mitterwald Has Career Game (for Cubs)

In just his fifth game with the Cubs after being traded by the Twins over the offseason for fellow catcher Randy Hundley, George Mitterwald has the best game of his career, going 4-for-4 with a walk, three home runs, a double off the wall, and eight RBI in an 18-9 win over the Pirates.

Following his playing career, Mitterwald coached at the major and minor league levels. Of Minnesota interest, he managed the Orlando Twins in 1986 and ’87, and the Northern League Duluth-Superior Dukes from 1996 to ’98. Mitterwald was the skipper when Dukes pitcher Ila Borders became the first woman to win a men’s professional baseball game on July 24, 1998, pitching six scoreless innings in a 3-1 win over the Sioux Falls Canaries at Wade Stadium in Duluth. 

April 17, 1977
Carew Hits Four-Run Triple

First baseman Rod Carew caps off a seven-run second-inning rally with a two-out, four-run triple (Carew scored on a throwing error). The Twins beat the Athletics 10-2 at home in Bloomington.

April 17, 1979
Ryan Shuts Out Twins

Angels ace Nolan Ryan pitches a four-hit shutout as the Twins lose their home opener 6-0.

Ryan no-hit the Twins in Anaheim on September 28, 1974. It was his third of four no-hitters over a three-year span. He threw his record seventh no-hitter on May 1, 1991, at age 44 (18 years after his first no-hitter). 

Fun Fact: Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew both hit pinch-hit home runs off Ryan in his final career relief appearance on July 28, 1974. (It was the second game of a doubleheader in Anaheim, which might explain Killer and Carew coming off the bench. Despite the home runs, the Twins still lost 12-9.) Ryan had pitched a complete game three days earlier, and would pitch a 10-inning complete game two days later. (This is where somebody chimes in with “back when men were men.”)

April 17, 2009
Kubel Hits Grand Slam to Complete Cycle

Down 9-4 to the Angels in the bottom of the eighth, the Twins score three on Mike Redmond and Denard Spahits. After Brendan Harris (who homered earlier in the game) strikes out for the second out of the inning, the Angels, still clinging to a two-run lead, intentionally walk Justin Morneau to load the bases for Jason Kubel, who is a home run shy of the cycle. Kubel hits the 0-1 pitch out of the park, completing the Twins’ seven-run eighth-inning rally. Joe Nathan retired the Angels in order in the ninth to save the 11-9 Twins win.

It was the ninth cycle in Twins history. The previous eight were Rod Carew (5/20/70), César Tovar (9/19/72), Larry Hisle (7/4/76), Lyman Bostock (7/24/76), Mike Cubbage (7/27/78), Gary Ward (9/18/80), Kirby Puckett (8/1/86), and Carlos Gómez (5/7/08). Michael Cuddyer hit for the 10th cycle in team history just over a month later, on May 22. Jorge Polanco hit for the 11th cycle in Twins history on April 5, 2019 (using Eddie Rosario‘s bat). Polanco finished a double shy of another cycle four days later. 

Two players had previously completed the cycle with a grand slams. Interestingly, they were both shortstops: Tony Lazzeri in 1932, and Miguel Tejada in 2001

April 17, 2010
Mauer Receives MVP Award

Joe Mauer receives his 2009 American League Most Valuable Player Award in a pregame ceremony at Target Field prior to a game against the Royals.

After missing the first 22 games of the 2009 season with a lower back injury, Mauer homered on his first swing back from the disabled list. He went on to hit 11 home runs and drive in 32 runs in the month of May. He set career highs with 28 home runs and 96 RBI on the season, and won his third AL batting title with a .365 average—the best by a catcher in major league history.

The Twins won the Central Division in 2009 with a dramatic 12th-inning walk-off win in Game 163 versus Detroit, but were swept by the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs.

After receiving his trophy, Mauer went 2-for-4 with two RBI in the game. Jim Thome homered. Tied 5-5 in the seventh, Orlando Hudson led off the bottom of the inning with a home run, giving the Twins a 6-5 win.

April 17, 2014
Eight-Walk Eighth Inning

After being snowed out the previous night, the Twins and Blue Jays played a frigid doubleheader on April 17. The Twins won Game 1 by a score of 7-0. The 31° gametime temperature was the coldest for a Twins home game at the time. The temperature was up to 42° by the start of Game 2.

The Twins trailed 5-3 going into the bottom of the eighth. They would score four runs before getting their first hit, and ultimately score six on just one hit in the inning. Blue Jays pitcher Steve Delebar walked Josmil Pinto and Chris Hermann to start the inning. Eduardo Núñez then dropped down a successful sacrifice bunt, moving the tying run into scoring position. That was completely unnecessary in retrospect, as Sergio Santos (replacing Delebar) and J.A. Happ combined to walk the next five Twins batters. Three(!) runs scored on Santos wild pitches, and a fourth run scored when Happ walked Chris Colabello with the bases loaded. Finally, after having already scored four runs, the Twins got their first hit of the inning, a two-run Jason Kubel single to right. Josmil Pinto then walked for the second time in the inning before the Blue Jays finally got the final two outs. Glen Perkins pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, securing a 9-5 Twins win.

 

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